[READING] [V & A Shipping] Chapter 44
Once Vic was up and eating, Argmon relented the controls to Tootsie and joined everyone, everyone save Mike, in the kitchen. He cooked yet another fabulous meal.
Joop-Nop snacked on another stick. It’d lost much of its green sliminess and was looking more and more like a tree with eyes and an oddly shaped mouth. June had seen many of Joop-Nop’s transformations, but this one took the cake. Why would any being want to be a tree? Even a mobile one.
Vic, despite sitting up, looked as if he’d been run over by a truck. The poison, according to the man who sold her the anti-venom, would make Vic weak and incapacitated for days, maybe even weeks. She knew Vic better than anyone else and he wouldn’t do well in this condition. She had tried to feed him, but he fought her off. He’d rather starve before being fed like an invalid.
“So where’s Mike?” he asked.
“He’s still in stasis in the cargo hold.”
“We’re going to have to move him. Once we land we need to get this ship loaded in record time. I’m not going to be any help aside from barking orders so June, I need you to be out there overseeing as much as you can. I’ll be online with Tootsie, but you’ll have to make sure all the actual work gets done.”
“Fine.” It wasn’t fine but she wasn’t telling him that. She had a problem ordering her friends around, unlike Vic. It was great, however, that Vic’s spirits were up to the task.
“We’ll put Mike back in engineering. I’ll figure out what to do with him once we’re back under way. We land in about ten minutes, so let’s finish up and get prepared. Argmon, I’ll land the ship. You go down to the cargo bay and help out as much as you can.”
“Look, I’ll be fine. I’ve got SPX-39 and Tootsie to keep me company.”
SPX-39 perked up. “So I don’t have to help?”
“I’d rather this went as smoothly as possible. You’ll be in the cockpit with me.” Vic scratched at the bandages on his shoulder.
“Don’t touch those,” June scolded. “Those bites are deep and you’re going to need them looked at as soon as we’re back on Planchar.”
“I will. I will. Why don’t you guys just get Mike taken care of and prepare to load this ship while I get us landed. SPX-39, take care of cleaning this up. I don’t want any stray dishes flying around.”
She knew Vic would be okay. Even though his orders weren’t issued with their usually aggressiveness, they were issued. He wasn’t going to let a little thing like a spider bite get in the way of him making money even if that spider bite came from one of his crew.
Vic left the room first and he struggled to do so, June could feel it. He could be a tough bastard when he wanted to be. Now was one of those times.
Someone in the room wasn’t so secure or holding up well. Joey? When she turned and looked at him he looked at the floor, put his hands in his pockets and left the room. What was his problem? Only two men left from Earth and they were both idiots. One refused to show how he really felt and the other’s insecurity prevented him from keeping anything hidden. It was like babysitting a couple of babies. She didn’t need this.
Still, Joey had only been here a short time.
He stopped and turned around, but didn’t say anything.
How should she ask him? “Are you okay? We’re about to load this ship and I don’t know how things are going to be once we land. You’re not going to pass out on me again are you?”
“Joey, look at me. I need to know that you’re going to be alright.”
He looked up. “We’re just loading a bunch of beer. What could go wrong?” He shrugged.
“I’ve been on this ship with Vic for some time. I’ve seen a lot of shipments that should have been easy go awry. We’re on a time limit with this one and everyone needs to pull their weight. If anything is going to happen, I’d like to know now rather than find you laid out on the deck again.”
“I’ll be fine.” He turned and sulked down the hallway. Something’s eating him up. What’s the problem?
June just hoped that everything would go alright. Perhaps there would be time to still get back to Munchkada and complete her deal. It still peeved her that Vic hadn’t thought about the possible risks of delivering the load of tonindrium. But she’d have to do her own sulking later. They were going to be on the ground in a few minutes. Good thing she hadn’t taken her suit off. Now all she needed to do was put her helmet on and get her guns.
Joop-Nop, Dexter, Argmon, and Joey all stood in the cargo bay looking at Mike’s body. She’d managed to forget about Mike with her concern for Vic and Joey. Men trouble couldn’t have happened at a worse possible time.
Men trouble?- That was it! Why hadn’t she thought of that before? Joey’s reactions were jealousy! How cute. She smiled and knew this would be easier to deal with. Now to get Mike moved.
“Tootsie, turn off the stasis field on Mike.”
Tootsie buzzed. “Is that advisable?”
“Tootsie, I don’t have time to argue. I’m going to have you re-initiate the field once we’ve got him moved.”
The shimmer around Mike’s body faded. If Dexter didn’t hit him hard enough, Mike could wake up and then they’d have something to deal with.
Joop-Nop now had branch-like legs and no longer oozed from place to place, but still couldn’t lend a hand in moving Mike. Dexter took the head, Argmon took the body while June and Joey each too a pair of legs and they moved Mike into the engineering room.
Vic’s voice came over the con. “June, we land in five.”
“Got it! We’re almost done with Mike.”
While Dexter and Joey held Mike in his seat, June fastened the seat belt. She had to get her helmet, her guns, and should probably do something about the web. Still a lot to do and not a lot of time to get it done.
“Joey, Dex, Argmon, you guys go and get strapped in for landing. I need to get my helmet and clean up that web Mike built.”
“Eep. Eep. Eep.”
Joop-Nop clicked two of its branches together and pointed at Mike’s funnel web.
“I’m not putting Mike up there in his web. I don’t care if he likes to ride up there. He’s too heavy.”
Joop-Nop flattened out and clicked all his branches together and continued to point at the funnel web.
“Joop-Nop, I don’t have time for this. We land in like three minutes and I’ve got things to do. Now get out of the way.”
She would have to figure out what Joop-Nop wanted later. They’d be on the ground any minute.